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Monday, May 26, 2014

Movie Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past  $$$ 1/2

131 Minutes
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence.
Director: Bryan Singer. 

            The story for this X-Men movie is based on what is in my opinion the best storyline from any comic. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about seeing it on the big screen and I wasn’t disappointed. 
            In the future, mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels have declared war on almost all of humanity, mutant and non-mutant alike. It is a dark and gritty setting not too dissimilar from the flashback scenes in Terminator. I love it.
            The last of the mutants are one raid away from total annihilation. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) devise a plan to save humanity. They plan to use Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness into the past and have him stop the assassination that led to the activation of the Sentinels. There’s just one problem. That involves getting the Professor and Magneto to work together.

            How did X-Men: Days of Future Past rate? 

            1. Fun – I was entertained the entire time. The battle scenes with the Sentinels at the beginning and the end of the movie were spectacular. I loved watching these super-hero remnants working together to stave off the inevitable doom of the Sentinel onslaught.
            X-Men: Days of Future Past gets a full MB for fun.

            2. Story – As I stated above, this is based on the best comic storyline ever; former enemies working together to avoid mutual destruction. The characters have depth—which is something that is often missing in movies of this genre. There is plenty of well-developed tension and suspense. I didn’t find any glaring plot holes in the story, but then again I may have been enjoying it too much to notice them.
            While this is not an Oscar-worthy storyline it still gets a full MB for story.

            3. Technical – Apocalyptic landscapes, explosions, and super-hero costumes and make-up abound in this film. All of it at the level of quality that we have come to expect from a first run film in this genre. No problems there. The scenes set in the past look like how I remember the 70s.
            It looked good. It sounded good. It gets a full MB for the technical aspects.

            4. Acting – This ranged from good to excellent. A few changes have been made in the cast. Jennifer Lawrence has taken over the role of Mystique and I whole-heartedly approve. She did an excellent job. Toad has a new look and a new actor, Evan Jonigkeit, to sport those warty grimaces.
            Hugh Jackman turned in maybe his best performance as Wolverine. This is a perhaps wiser and less angry Wolverine that I felt added a lot to the story. I was less impressed with James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto. I just didn’t feel a connection to either of them and since their characters are the lynchpin of this story it prevents the movie from getting perfect marks. I would have rather seen more of Nicholas Hoult as the younger Hank McCoy/Beast and Evan Peters as Quick Silver.
            X-Men: Days of Future Past gets a half a MB for acting. 

            With a final total of 3 ½ Movie Bucks I highly recommend X-Men: Days of Future Past. You can see it as a matinee, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you catch it a regular showing. As with most super-hero films, you will want to see this on the big screen with big sound.


                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Movie Review - The Amazing Spider-man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2  $$$

136 Minutes
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, and Dane DeHaan.
Director: Marc Webb.

            Spiderman, Spiderman
            Does whatever a spider can
            Spin a webb – any size
            Catches thieves just like flies
            Lookout here comes the Spiderman

            Oops! That song from the 1967 Spiderman cartoon is amazingly catchy.
            This second movie in the rebooted franchise finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) dealing with issues related to the death of Captain Stacy (Denis Leary). Namely, the promise to stay away from his daughter Gwen (Emma Stone). Of course, the problem is complicated by Gwen’s argument that she is an adult capable of making her own decision about being involved in the life of a super-hero. Quite the dilemma and the one that is most commonly visited in comic book storylines.
            Then along comes Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Max is a lonely electrical engineer and Harry is suffering from the same disfiguring hereditary disease that killed his father. Things don’t go well for either of them and they emerge as the super-villains Electro and Green Goblin. The good news is that they have something in common. They both want Spiderman dead.
            This is how I rated The Amazing Spider-man 2:

1. Fun – What can I say? Spidey = fun. At least when the film is done well and the studio did a good job on this movie. They actually crammed three super-villains into the story with a smaller, but spectacular, appearance from Paul Giamatti as Rhino. The movie slowed-down a bit in the middle which kept it from being as fun as it could have been.
            I gave The Amazing Spiderman 2 a half MB for spidey-fun.
2. Story – Even though the story lagged a bit in parts, I felt that those parts were well-written and pertinent to the tale being told.
           A strong story like this is worth a Full MB.  

3. Technical – Plenty of super-sized special effects. The fight scene with Green Goblin was my favorite part of the technical wizardry that went into making this film. I give a Full MB for the technical aspects of this movie.  

            4. Acting – Pretty good overall. Andrew Garfield is excellent as Peter Parker and Spiderman. Emma Stone is very strong in her role as Gwen Stacy. However, Jamie Foxx was more interesting as Max Dillon than he was as Electro and I’m not sure if his acting is to blame or possibly the technical team. Dane DeHaan, I felt, turned in a sub-standard performance as a whiny Harry Osborn.
            The acting in this movie only rated a half MB.

            That adds up to 3 Movie Bucks for The Amazing Spider-man 2. As is the case with almost any super-hero movie, you will want to see this on the big screen. I suggest that you catch it as a matinee or other discount showing.

                        Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.